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Girls Block Bulldozers in Az Zawiya


Women And Girls Lead Blocking of Bulldozers in Az Zawiya

International Womens' Peace Service

Women And Girls Lead Blocking of Bulldozers in Az Zawiya

An eight-year-old girl stood under the blade of a digger on Monday, as women and children stopped the uprooting of olive trees on Az Zawiya land for nearly one hour.

Bulldozers began cutting and uprooting trees on Sunday night and by morning, hundreds of trees had been laid waste. Several hundred villagers gathered in the village at 9:00 a.m. and attempted to march to the land, but were blocked by seven jeeps of soldiers and border police who threw sound grenades and shot rubber bullets, injuring at least one person.

A small group of women and girls, accompanied by internationals, made their way around the soldiers and reached the land where bulldozers were working. Though the soldiers attempted to push them back, the women were persistent and small girls sat and stood by the trees meant to be uprooted. After repeatedly threatening to run the women down, the bulldozer drivers finally turned off their engines, but after about forty-five minutes, soldiers threw tear gas and dispersed the group.

Contractors, army and border police were confronted by a group of women and men in a second area. They again used tear gas, sound grenades and fired shots in the air to prevent the group from stopping the work. This group included Israeli activists as well as villagers and internationals, who remained on the land until early afternoon.

The wall will leave the village of Az Zawiya with only 775 dunums, or 90% of their agricultural land. The village will lose access to around 24,000 dunums where they grew olive trees, almond trees, and carried out intensive cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses.

They have already lost land to road expropriations for settler highway no. 5, for settlement building, for military facilities and training grounds.

They will be imprisoned in their village. Az Zawiya is one of 3 neighbouring villages that will be in the same enclave – the other two are Rafat and Deir Ballut. The village of Az Zawiya has requested an ongoing international and Israeli presence to help them prevent the destruction of their community. Plans are being made for a peace camp similar to that held in Mas'ha last year.

Photos and video are available from IWPS and at http://www.iwps.info.

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